Christmas 2021 Program Notes

Ding Dong! Merrily on High
George Ratcliffe Woodward (England, 1848-1934)
Arr. Charles Woods (Ireland, 1866–1926)

Ding Dong! Merrily on High is one of the happiest and most spirited Christmas songs, and like many of the traditional carols that are sung today, it was written hundreds of years ago. The earliest record we have of the song is from 1588, making it at least 428 years old! It started as a French dance tune until it was set to a new English text by the Anglican priest George Ratcliffe Woodward, thus creating this Christmas carol.

Deck the Halls
Trad. carol
Arr. Charles Woods (1866–1926)

‘Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly’ might be the most famous opening line in the history of Christmas carols, ushering in the festive Christmas season. The tune thought to be Welsh was joined with lyrics penned by Scotland’s Thomas Oliphant in the early 1800s. Those lyrics in part pay homage to Yule, a pre-Christian pagan celebration of 12 days revolving around the birth of the sun and the winter solstice. Today, Yule logs are still tossed in the fireplace to celebrate lengthening daylight following the winter solstice and Christmas.

Away in a Manger
Trad. carol
Arr. Michael McGlynn (Ireland, b.1964)

A 1996 Gallup poll put Away in a Manger in second place (behind Silent Night) as one of the most popular Christmas carols! This carol is traced to 19
th century, but its origins (England or America?) are debated.

Northern Lights (Pulchra Es)
Ola Gjeilo (Norway, b.1978)

Inspired by the sight of the aurora borealis in the northern sky of his homeland along with an ancient 6
th century B.C. text from the Song of Songs, Gjeilo composed this stunning piece where words and sounds describe the transcendence of the northern lights.

Pulchra es, amica mea,
Suavis et decora filia Jerusalem,
Et decora filia Jerusalem,
Terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata.
Averte oculos tuos a me,
Quia ipsi me avolare fecerunt, amica mea.

You are beautiful, my love,
fair as Jerusalem,
fair as Jerusalem’s daughter,
fearsome as celestial visions!
Turn your eyes away from me,
for they stir me up.

O Tannenbaum
Traditional German Carol
Arr. Michael McGlynn (Ireland, b. 1964)

Like Christmas, the fir tree with its’ evergreen quality, is a symbol of our perseverance. Although its’ origins were not associated with Christmas, it is now a “standard” carol.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie grün sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein, auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!
Wie oft hat zur Weihnachtszeit
Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How green are your leaves!
Through summer’s heat and winter’s chill,
Your leaves are green and blooming still.

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
With what delight I see you!
When winter days are dark and dreary
You bring us hope for all the year.

Noël Nouvelet
Traditional carol
Arr. Michael McGlynn (Ireland, b.1964)

Noël Nouvelet dates to the 15
th century. This French Christmas song includes not only the birth of the Christ Child, but also the angels’ song and the visit by the shepherds.

Noël nouvelet, Noël chantons ici.
Dévotes gens rendons à Dieu merci.
Chantons noël pour le roi nouvelet.
Noël nouvelet, Noël chantons ici.

Quand je m’éveillai j’eus assez dormi.
Ouvris les yeux, vis un arbre fleuri.
Dont il sortait un bouton merveilleux,
Noël nouvelet, Noël chantons ici.

D’un oiselet bientôt le chant ouis,
Qui aux pasteurs disait: Partez d’ici.
En Bethléem trouverez l’agnelet
Noël nouvelet, Noël chantons ici.

New Christmas, let us sing for Christmas now here.
Devout people, let us give our thanks to God!
Let us sing to Christmas for the new King!
New Christmas, let us sing for Christmas now here.

When I woke up, I had slept enough,
I opened my eyes, and saw a tree in flower,
From which there emerged a magnificent bud.
New Christmas, Christmas we sing here!

Soon I heard the song of a little bird,
Who was saying to the shepherds: “Go from here.”
In Bethlehem find the little lamb.
New Christmas, Christmas we sing here!

Suo Gân (Welsh Lullaby)
Arr. K. Lee Scott (USA, b. 1950)

This hauntingly beautiful Welsh lullaby with its pure and simple beauty brings out the Celtic sounds of its Welsh origins. An anonymous composer gifted this lovely lullaby to humanity in the early 1800s.

Wexford Carol
Trad. Irish carol
Arr. Michael McGlynn (Ireland, b. 1964)

The Wexford Carol is a beloved traditional Irish Christmas carol and is one of Ireland’s oldest Carols, hailing from Ireland’s County Wexford and dating back to the 12
th century.

Michael Praetorius (Germany, 1571-1621)

This exuberant carol captures the joy that comes at the end of Advent i.e. Christmas! Local bilingual songs were popular in the early 17
th century, and this one was published in Latin and German by Praetorius in 1609.

Psallite, unigenito
Christo Dei Filio
Redemptori Domino, puerulo,
jacenti in præsepio.

Sing to the only-begotten
Christ the Son of God
Lord Redeemer, little boy,
lying in a manger.

Singt und klingt
Jesu, Gottes Kind
und Marien Söhneleiin
unserm lieben Jesulein
im Krippelein
beim Öchslein und beim Eselein
Ein kleines Kindelein
lieget in dem Krippelein
Alle liebe Engelein dienen dem Kindelein,
und singen ihm fein

Sing and ring
Jesus, God's Child
and Mary's little son
our dear little Jesus
in the manger
with the little ox and the little donkey
a little baby
lies in the manger
all the dear angels serve the little child
and sing to Him finely

Ave Generosa
Hildegard von Bingen (Germany, 1098-1179)

Hildegard was a remarkable woman, serving as Benedictine abbess of various abbeys near present day Frankfurt, Germany. In addition to her contributions of sacred music, Hildegard wrote theological, botanical and medicinal texts.

Ave generosa, gloriosa,
et intacta puela.
Tu tutela castitatis,
tu materia sactitatis,
quæ Deo placuit.

Hail, gracious, glorious,
and pure young woman.
You are the guardian of purity,
you are the source of holiness
which is pleasing to God.
And so it shall be.

I Sing of a Maiden

This anonymous Medieval English Christmas song is well described by John Rutter; “It is not a hard piece technically, but it’s not that easy to do it just right.” Schola sings a setting of this medieval piece by Schola’s Fr. Joe Vanderholt, S.J.

Alma Redemptoris Mater
th century Gregorian chant

For centuries Alma redemptoris mater has been the last Gregorian chant sung at the close of the day in monasteries during Christmastide.

Alma Redemptoris Mater
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (Italy, 1525 – 1594)

Palestrina is considered the créme de la créme of Renaissance polyphonic sacred musicians. Palestrina composed this polyphonic setting of Alma Redemptoris Mater in 1584 while at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This composition would have been the last sounds the Pope heard at the end of in the day in the Sistine Chapel during Christmastide.

Alma Redemptoris Mater,
quæ pervia cæli porta manes,
et stella maris, succurre cadenti
surgere qui curat populo:
tu quæ genuisti, natura mirante,
tuum sanctum Genitorem:
Virgo prius ac posterius,
Gabrielis ab ore sumens illud Ave,
peccatorum miserere.

Loving mother of the redeemer,
you are an open gate to heaven,
and star of the sea: help a fallen people
who want to rise again.
You, who gave birth to your holy creator,
with nature in awe,
a virgin before and after
hearing that “Ave” from the mouth of Gabriel:
have mercy on us sinners.

Translation: Fr. J. Vanderholt, S.J.

Randall Thompson (USA, 1899-1984)

Thompson composed this piece on the eve of World War II, just days following France’s fall to the Nazis in the summer of 1940. Thompson later explained, "the word Alleluia has so many possible interpretations. The music in my particular Alleluia cannot be made to sound joyous. It is a slow, sad piece…” Schola performs it with the intention that the journey of this piece exhibits sadness, frustration and finally succumbing to, and acceptance of, our life experiences.

Vamos Todos a Belén
Trad. New Mexican carol

The genesis of this traditional carol started centuries ago along the route of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the 1,600-mile-long route between Mexico City and distant Northern New Mexico. The Camino Real was the long dusty (and sometimes muddy) route, the conduit of customs, food and music of the “Frontier” of New Mexico and Mexico City for more than 300 years.

Vamos todos a Belén con amor y gozo;
adoremos al Señor nuestro Redentor

1. Derrama una estrella Divino dulzor,
hermosa doncella nos da al Salvador.

2. La noche fue día; un ángel bajó,
nadando entre luces, que asi nos habló.

3. Felices pastores, la dicha triunfó,
el cielo se rasga, la vida nació. Refrain

4. Felices suspiros mi pecho dará
y ardiente mi lengua tu amor cantará.

Let’s all go to Bethlehem with love and joy,
We will worship the Lord our Redeemer.

1. The star sheds a Divine sweetness
beautiful maiden gives us the Savior.

2. Night was day, an angel came down,
Swimming in lights, they told us this:

3. Happy shepherds, joy triumphed,
the sky is torn, life was born.

4. Happy sighs my chest will breathe
with my burning tongue, I will sing your love.

Mañanitas a la Virgen de Guadalupe
Trad. of the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Las Mañanitas a la Virgen de Guadalupe is the traditional song of the ‘Patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe.’ Las Mañanitas is our song of greeting to 'her,' where we celebrate Juan Diego’s encounter with the Virgin Mary in 1531, greeting her as 'Guadalupana'. The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is on December 12.

Oh Virgen, la más Hermosa del Valle del Anáhuac,
tus hijos muy de mañana te vienen a saludar.

Despierta, Madre, despierta, mira que ya amaneció,
mira este ramo de flores que para ti traigo yo.

Recibe, Madre querida, nuestra felicitación,
hoy por ser el día tan grande de tu tierna aparición.

Recibe, Madre querida, nuestra felicitación;
míranos aquí postrados y danos tu bendición.

Tú brillaste, Virgen Santa, como estrella matinal,
anunciando la alborada que iba pronto a comenzar.

Ya viene alborando el día, qué linda está la mañana,
saludemos a María: buenos días, Guadalupana.

El cerro del Tepeyac escogiste por morada,
por eso te saludamos, buenos días, Guadalupana.

Ya viene amaneciendo, ya la luz del día nos dio,
levántate, Virgencita, mira que ya amaneció.

O Virgin, the most beautiful of the Valley of Anahuac,
your children come to greet you very early in the morning.

Wake up, Mother, wake up, look at the dawn,
look at this bouquet that I bring to you.

Receive, dear Mother, our congratulations,
For today being the great day of your tender appearance.

Receive, dear Mother, our congratulations;
see at us here prostrate and give us your blessing.

You shone, Holy Virgin, as the morning star,
announcing the dawn that was soon to begin.

The day is already dawning, how beautiful the morning is,
Let’s say hello to Mary. ‘God morning Guadalupana!’

You chose the Tepeyac hill as your home,
so we greet you; Good morning, Guadalupana!

Dawn is coming, and the light of day is upon us.
Get up, little Virgin, look and see that it is already dawn!

Auld Lang Syne
Robert Burns (Scotland, 1759-1896)

Scotland’s Robert Burns set his poem Auld Lang Syne to a traditional Scottish folk song in 1788. Schola bids farewell to the old year as we look forward to the New Year.

O Holy Night
Adolphe Adam (France, 1803-1856)
Arr. Michael McGlynn (Ireland, b.1964)

This French carol was set by France’s Adolphe Adam in 1847 to "Minuit, chrétiens," a poem by Placide Cappeau (1808–1877). This poem, and now carol, reflects both on the birth of Jesus and on humanity's redemption.

Christmas 2021 Schola singers
Eric Brunn - baritone
Jackie Mattos - alto/soprano
Megan McGuiness - soprano
Denise Moore - soprano
Susan Roller Whittington - alto
Cindi Stetson - alto/soprano
John Stetson - baritone
Linda Wilson - alto/guitar
Lucinda Sydow - alto/soprano/trumpet/percussion

Maestro Billy Turney - baritone/accordion